Grade 9

The Ninth Grade Program at Pike recognizes and develops emerging talent in a demanding yet supportive environment. Through engaged mentorship, compelling leadership opportunities, academic rigor and civic accountability. Our program aims to guide students committed to realizing their potential. Pike 9 graduates are strong, independent learners, and responsible citizens who act with conviction and courage as they contribute to the betterment of their communities.

Pike 9 offers:

  • Opportunities to develop leadership, confidence and self-awareness
  • Challenges and experiences to grow as an individual and find a student’s passion
  • Academic preparedness for high school and beyond
  • Off-campus trips for integrated instruction
  • A social justice and service learning curriculum

Pike 9 Curriculum


Outdoor fieldwork comprises the bulk of the laboratory curriculum as students cover the areas of ecology, animal behavior, diversity of organisms, and evolution. Students work in quadrants on the Pike nature trail where they document seasonal changes, identify biotic factors, measure patterns of growth, and conduct field experiments. Their laboratory work is in accordance with Harvard Forest's program "Our Changing Forests", which investigates the effect of climate change on regional landscapes. Students will be sharing their data with other schools and on a national database run by Harvard University. A second component of the laboratory program includes a restoration project on endangered Blandings Turtles managed by Zoo New England.  The course also includes several long-term papers, projects, and debates, designed to foster critical thinking skills, encourage predictions, teach scientific research techniques and to allow students to reach beyond the textbook to apply their knowledge of biology and the scientific method.


The Humanities course is designed to provide students with a unique opportunity to explore ideas and to recognize connections that students might not have made during the traditional curriculum of separate English and history courses. This interdisciplinary course encourages students to imagine, to discover, and then to articulate these connections both in their written work and verbally. A goal is to explore the world of 20th century history, not only through the traditional medium of primary and secondary text sources, but also through the world of literature and film. Units of study include Industrialization, World War I, the Russian Revolution, the Interwar Period, World War II and the Holocaust, the Civil Rights movement in the United States, and the Vietnam era.

World Language

World Language at the ninth grade level continues to hone the skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing in the target language through communicative activities, drills, and original compositions. Due to smaller class sizes, content is able to be tailored  to the particular interests and makeup of the class. At this level, students should expect instruction entirely in the target language and to be able to participate in kind. Students are strongly encouraged to build their capacities to produce spontaneous speech and build the practical skills necessary to engage target cultures.


The ninth-grade math program is a traditional high school geometry course. Woven throughout the course is the algebraic connection between the spatial components of geometry and the equations and formulas learned in previous grades. Emphasis in ninth grade is given to formal proofs and logic. The properties of lines, angles, triangles and circles take up much of the year. Training the students to be able to see and read 2–D and 3-D diagrams continues through the entire year as well. Problem solving is woven into the curriculum to encourage students to connect the abstract nature of the formulas and terms to real life situations that require one’s mind to visualize connections between shapes and numbers. The TI-Nspire graphing calculator is used regularly as a tool to enhance exploration, instruction and reinforcement of new concepts.


The grade nine Latin curriculum is a traditional Latin translation course. Students study the remaining higher order grammatical constructions including gerunds, periphrastic constructions, conditional sentences, and indirect discourse and then transit from contrived textbook Latin to the original works of the great Roman authors. Authors read in recent years include Livy, Ovid, Virgil, Apuleius, Cicero and Catullus. Historical, mythological, and cultural topics are explored within the context of the literature being studied.

Visual Arts

In the Upper School visual arts program, emphasis is placed on balancing fundamental skill development, individual creativity and hands-on experience with a wide variety of materials and techniques aimed at opening as many creative and inspirational doors as possible. In the ninth grade, that continues with an exploration of photography. Students will explore visual design and expression through image making via digital and/or analog techniques. We will spend significant class time studying a wide variety of compositional concepts and techniques through slide shows and class discussions in the interest of crafting increasingly personal, complex and engaging images.

Our individual assignments will be geared toward developing students’ visual awareness as well as the proper application of both visual and technical concepts covered in class. Students’ finished work will be showcased in the annual art show.


The ninth grade theater performs in a drama production that has already been written. This is a different challenge from the eighth grade theater project, because the ninth graders must interpret the playwright’s intentions by looking for clues in the script. All ninth graders perform and assist as directors during this project. They also work together to build the set and make props for the performance. The ninth grade theater class culminates in an evening performance for the entire community.


The ninth grade music curriculum consists of learning how to create a concept album of 7-10 songs and then playing and recording them. The songs are a combination of covers and originals. As part of this project, students explore how music albums can tell a story through content and artwork. After working on the performance side, ninth graders explore the sound engineering side of music. In this part, students learn about the science of sound and microphones. The final part of this long-term project is learning how to record their songs with proper microphone placement, and then mix and master their album.

Foundations and Justice

This class encourages students to explore their own beliefs and values as they further develop their understanding of human rights and make sense of such issues as poverty, gender, sexuality, homelessness, ageism, disability, etc. In this dynamic and interactive setting, there are no “right answers.” Students are given the facts to consider and are asked to think for themselves, to arrive at and defend their own informed opinions and beliefs with conviction and courage. By testing and expressing their understanding of the social world and their place in it, students emerge with a more distinct and stronger sense of self.  

This course blends classroom activities with valuable first-hand experiences off campus. Accordingly, we are out meeting and working with people who may live in poverty or are experiencing being marginalized. We are looking at the social constructs of our society and trying learn and understand their various dynamics.  Our goal is to learn that people are people and many living with these challenges were brought into and grappling with a situation by no choice of there own.  

Pike 9 is the true capstone to your Pike experience. It's when you're given the freedom to demonstrate everything that you've learned at the school and make a meaningful impact on the younger generation of students. It shines a spotlight on you as an applicant for secondary schools in a great way. Recent Pike 9 Graduate

2019 Pike 9 Graduates Matriculated at the Following Schools: 

  • Brooks School - 2
  • Choate Rosemary Hall
  • Concord Academy
  • Phillips Academy
Image of Pike 9 graduating class of 2019.

“Pike 9 is an incredible and once in a lifetime opportunity. It is rare that you will be able to go anywhere else and work with teachers who know you so well in and out of the classroom.” Recent Pike 9 Graduate